Kibbey Kibler, a Shih Tzu that was raised in WVU resident halls has passed away at age 14.
Kibbey was living in Honors Hall with her owners, Jeremiah Kibler, the residence hall coordinator for Honors Hall, and Keisha Kibler, professor at the Honors College. She had to be put down after suffering multiple seizures and a possible stroke. Kibbey, with the help of Honors Hall, was in the midst of planning her 15th birthday party, set to take place in September.
“She was really our kid,” Jeremiah Kibler said. “[Keisha and I have] been married for 15 years, and so we got her pretty much right after we got married, and so she was our child.”
Kibbey had degenerative myelopathy, causing her back legs to malfunction.
“We had to make the decision that was best for her, at the vet,” Keisha Kibler said.
The couple has been with Honors Hall since it was built in 2009 and at WVU for 16 years total.
“[Kibbey] was raised in the residence halls. Before I was here at Honors Hall, I oversaw Dadisman and Stalnaker Hall,” Jeremiah Kibler said. “So Kibbey has known students for years and years.”
He said Kibbey has interacted with more than six thousand students over the years.
“It’s been pretty impressive to see the outpouring from current students. Some of the students here have reached out, and we’ll get cards and well wishes,” Jeremiah Kibler said.
Although Honors Hall has a therapy dog named Sasha, for many students, Kibbey was an additional furry friend they could go to for support.
“She was never trained as a therapy dog; she was a friendly dog, a gentle spirit,” Keisha Kibler said. “Some students would have really bad days, and they would come to the front desk and say ‘Can we see Kibbey?’ and Jeremiah would bring Kibbey out, and the residents would sit in the lobby and play with her.”
Kibbey also supported the students by giving them “high-paws” on their way to finals.
“Kibbey loved people; she thought she was a person,” said Jeremiah Kibler. Many Honors students would go to Kibbey when they missed their own pets.
In addition to playing with the residents, Kibbey attended classes with them.
“Kibbey has attended multiple Honors classes here,” Keisha Kibler said. “I really think she deserves an honorary Honors degree; she’s a scholar.”
Kibbey’s death has been hard for Jeremiah and Keisha Kibler.
“We are better people because she’s been in our lives,” Keisha Kibler said.
Eventually, they hope to adopt a new dog that can be just as great of a support system for residents as Kibbey.